Category Archives: Blog

Machair, Uig Bay, Isle of Lewis

Machair, Uig Bay, Isle of Lewis


A triptych of close up shots of machair at Uig Bay on Lewis in the Outer Hebrides.  Machair is grass land that is almost unique to the coastal sand dune areas of Scotland and in particular the islands of Scotland.  Whilst appearing wild, it is a carefully controlled environment brought about by grazing, and is one that is vital as it holds together the dunes and ensures that the sea does not erode the land.

Also posted in Bronica, Flowers, Photography, Scotland Tagged , , , , , , |

Trees and Mist in the Peak District

misty trees peak district

Misty Trees in the Hidden Valley


millpond  trees calm peak district

Millpond, Peak District


Bracken, Trees, Mist

Bracken, Trees, Mist

Last year I found a little valley in the Peak District that seems to have missed the attentions of most photographers.  I’ve been going back off and on throughout the year with an increase in visits as Autumn approached to see what the colour was like.  This little valley has more to offer and I will be adding more images over time.

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Also posted in General, Peak District, Photography Tagged , , |

Brincliffe Edge Woods at the start of Autumn

I’ve not been getting out nearly as much as I had promised myself this autumn. So before the clocks went back I took  to Brincliffe Edge Woods in Nether Edge, Sheffield.  These woods are just behind my home, so are a good place to head to to get my creative fix straight after work.

Having just got a dog in the summer (Udal, the part poodle) I’m becoming increasingly familiar with these woods, now that I have a legitimate reason to walk through them with being thought of as a nutter walking through them on my own!  The woods about 120 years ago were farm land.  So the fine houses on Brincliffe Edge Road, would have had views across a valley that is now full of 1930’s style semi’s, but then would have been farm land.  At some point I *think* the woods were allotments, as there are some regular rows of privet in some parts of the woods, and they do now overlook the local allotments.

So here is a small collection from my wander around the woods in the fading light, taken mainly on Fujifilm Provia to allow for some long exposures on my Bronica SQa.


Brincliffe Edge Woods

Brincliffe Edge Woods

Brincliffe Edge Woods

Brincliffe Edge Woods

Brincliffe Edge Woods



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Stanton Moor, Derbyshire Peak District

In  the end of August and the start of September I had the chance to head up on to Stanton Moor twice in the space of two weeks.  I’m usually up on the moor to explore and take pinhole shots of the plethora of Neolithic stone circles, ring cairns and burial mounds that are up there, but on this occasion I was there for the heather.  And what heather!  Very, very purpley/pink heather that in all honesty I felt compelled to tone down once I started working on them.   The first time I went up (in the company of Tim and Charlotte Parkin, Anna Booth, my wife Jacqueline and the kids) the swallows were getting ready to leave, swooping low, feeding on the wing in readiness to fly back to Africa.  Two weeks later when I visited with Dav Thomas the moor was deathly silent and the birds had gone.

Despite the fabulous colour of the heather, I was drawn the yellowing grasses of Stanton Moor, especially around the areas where controlled burning had taken place leaving the ground blackened with bleached remnants of old heather.

On my second trip to Stanton Moor I played around with my latest acquisition – a Lee Big Stopper – I know I’m coming very late to this game, but it was fun trying it out.

Also posted in Bronica, Landscape, Peak District Tagged , , , , , |

Limb Brook in Summer

I’ve managed to venture out once to the Limb Brook this summer to carry on my project.  Its very green out there – perhaps too green to be interesting.  I’m not sure.

I spent a very interesting couple of hours working an area that was  maybe about 200m square nestled between the road to Hathersage, the brook and some quite large homes.  It amazes me how I can while away the hours in one small area without feeling the compulsion to move on.  Its almost as if I am entering a meditative state.

Beside where Ecclesall Road South ends and Hathersage Road begins

Beside where Ecclesall Road South ends and Hathersage Road begins


The remains of Whirlow Mill on the Limb Brook in Sheffield

The remains of Whirlow Mill on the Limb Brook in Sheffield

The two photographs above have made it in to the project page at  The ones below, for whatever reason didn’t quite do it for me, I want to like them – especially the shot of the brook passing through the culvert, but on this occasion its a no from me.

Limb Brook-13

Limb Brook-12

Limb Brook-11

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Croftwork – decay in the Outer Hebrides

The Outer Hebrides of Scotland are a fantastic place to visit.  What is going against them is getting there – living in Sheffield for us its a seven/eight hour drive with a seven hour ferry crossing.  In the same time (as my wife likes to point out) we could probably be in the South of France.  That said, I can think of few places where you can pitch up in your camper van in a discrete spot and not be disturbed or be asked to move on.

When visiting the Uists you’re not quite taking a step back in time, but you are certainly dropping a gear or two in to a more unhurried way of thinking.

The story of the Outer Hebrides has been written about elsewhere, but in short it is one of  recent depopulation over the past 300 years to the present day.  First forcibly through the Highland Clearances and the movement of people off the fertile west coast to the more rocky and barren east coast and then cleared off the land completely and put on boats (through violence sometimes) to America and Canada to make way for sheep (Have a read of this interesting narrative from a gentleman brought up in Uig on Lewis –  Secondly through a lack of opportunity on the islands those that leave the islands don’t return, even when when buildings and crofts have been passed on to them – this leaves the land scattered with crofts (the buildings and the land) in various states of disrepair and ruin. (You can see the condition of some places in this previous blog post)

For the photographer this leaves a relatively uninhabited landscape with buildings that with care and respect can be explored and make ideal subjects for photography.


Croft and Fence, Eriskay, Outer Hebrides, decay, abandoned

Croft and Fence, Eriskay, Outer Hebrides


Eriskay is the island of “Whisky Galore!” fame. When the SS Politician went a ground during the Second World War, the locals helped themselves to the contents of the boat (more details can be found here –

"Trinity", Lochskipport, North Uist, Outer Hebrides, decay, sheiling

“Trinity”, Lochskipport, North Uist, Outer Hebrides

Lochskipport lies on the East coast of South Uist.  It was the former deep water landing place for boats bringing supplies to the island.  To think that in 1889, despite the clearances, this area had its own school with 16 pupils (

Lingerbay on the Golden Road, Harris, Outer Hebrides, decay, croft, abandoned

Lingerbay on the Golden Road, Harris, Outer Hebrides

With help from David Ward ( I managed to track down this abandoned croft at Lingerbay.  There were plans for a “superquarry” here in this National Scenic Area, which were eventually rejected, but if memory serves it did set do gooding outsiders against locals wanting new jobs.

Manish on the Golden Road, Harris, Outer Hebrides, decay, crofts

Manish on the Golden Road, Harris, Outer Hebrides

Further along the Golden Road on Harris there is a small cluster of abandoned buildings at Manish.  If you are in the area, be sure to visit The Mission House Studio ( to look at some great photography and ceramics.

End of Life, Callanish, Lewis, Outer Hebrides, abandoned, boat

End of Life, Callanish, Lewis, Outer Hebrides

Near the Callanish Stone Circle this small boat is beached and is rotting away. I was impressed at how the boat seems to have been a bit of an evolution, being a basic wooden boat, but appearing to have an engine and fibre glass bridge added to it over the years.  This led me to think about the decisions and the motivations behind eventually beaching it and whether those thoughts and actions were much different to those who in recent years have left the crofts they have inherited to go to ruin.


More of my photography from the Outer Hebrides can be found on my Portfolio site –


Also posted in Landscape, Scotland Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Callanish Stone Circles, Isle of Lewis

Away from the famous/popular Callanish Stone Circle there are a number of other stone circles in the immediate area (less than about one kilometer from the busy main site).  If you seek a bit of a solitude and you find the main stone circle too busy (which is more often than not unless you get up for dawn) then a walk out to Callanish II and III would be what you need.

Aside from Callanish II and  III there at least another 16 sites in the wider area designated as being part of the wider neolithic complex.  (

All photographs taken using expired Fujifilm Superia on a Zero Image 2000

Callanish III on to Callanish II, pinhole, colour superia

Callanish III on to Callanish II

Abandoned House, Callanish II, pinhole, fujifilm

Abandoned House, Callanish II

Callanish II, abandoned house, lewis, pinhole

Callanish II and House

Also posted in Pinhole, Scotland Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

New Work

I’ve been sat on top of a pile of scanning of late that has photographs dating back a good couple of months in it.  I’ve been lacking the motivation to scan them really (aside from that troublesome thing called the day job getting in the way too) .  A lot of the slides have lens flare in them, which had demotivated me, as the morning that I took those shots was fantastic – the sort where you might catch me doing a small happy dance as everything came together for that moment.  There was of course more in the pile than that of course, but it killed my motivation for a bit.

But, I am scanning now and here are a couple that go straight in to my Limb Brook Project.

Pool at One of the Ends

One of the Ends


At the first May Bank holiday we (me and the family) went on a day trip to the eery Brimham Rocks with Anna Booth.  Its an interesting location made all the more interesting by the low cloud that enveloped the rocks.

Brimham Rocks, North Yorkshire


At the end of May Bank Holiday I took myself and the campervan up to the West Highlands of Scotland – an inspiration lacking trip that I have written about else where.

Buachaille Etive Mor, West Highlands, Scotland

Glen Etive, West Highlands, Scotland

Loch Tulla, West Highlands, Scotland


Believe it or not the last photograph has not been fiddled with – this was how the camera and the film saw it – it was a glorious light.



Also posted in Scotland Tagged , , , , , , |

When in North Wales

We spent the Easter holidays in North Wales, basing ourselves at the excellent Caravan and Camping Club site at Bala (which was more like Greater Bala than actual Bala).  As I have grown to expect in North Wales, it was quite wet.  But that didn’t stop us going out everyday, as the kids are still of an age that pottering around and having a picnic outside is an adventure – even if it is chucking it down.   Here are a couple of photographs taken during the trip.

The top and bottom images were taken at Cwmorthin Quarry near Ffestiniog in North Wales.  I was first introduced to Cwmorthin by Richard Childs whilst on a workshop of his a couple of years ago and have always wanted to return as the place offers so much photographic potential.


A view of some reeds, the lake and an abandonded building at Cwmorthin Quarry, North Wales A yew tree on its own amongst older trees at Conway Falls, North Wales Chapel,Cwmorthin Quarry, North Wales

Also posted in Bronica, North Wales Tagged , , , , |

Kintraw Standing Stone

Kintraw Standing Stone West Coast of Scotland

As part of my mini road trip (described here) when driving from Oban to Kilmartin I stopped to pause at this fantastic standing stone at Kintraw.  I passed it two years ago, but given its situation, its very difficult to stop unless you are already slowing down for it before you see it (if that makes sense?). The Kintraw Standing Stone is flanked by at least two burial mounds (one of them a nice little kerbed cairn).  It is a great location with views out to sea and Jura beyond – maybe somewhat polluted with the marina and the boats berthed there.

Despite always traveling with “The Orange” book (Julian Cope’s “Modern Antiquarian”), I didn’t think to reach for it – and I wish I had.  The site, it has been deduced, was an astronomical site, with a viewing platform on the hill behind, where there was an alignment with the Kintraw Standing Stone and a clef in the hills over on the island of Jura and the solstice.   I wish I knew this, as that would have made for an interesting late morning potter around the hill side.

That said I did get the pinhole camera out and took a couple of exposures that I hope one will make its way in to my “Ties to the Land” project (

If this sort of thing floats your boat here are two references below:-

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